Consumer Trends Continue 2020 Shift



With November, we’re nine months into a pandemic that continues to produce shifts in consumer attitudes. As our former routines are broken, new habits are already having a big impact on our lives.

Their impact is only expected to grow. Let’s take a moment to look at a few consumer trends this year, and what’s to come in the next few months.

Telehealth

The pandemic forced the emergence of a broader healthcare ecosystem, specifically, one joining hybrid physical and virtual doctor’s visits, according to telehealth provider Amwell.

In its October survey, Amwell said that 22% of consumers and 80% of physicians reported having a virtual visit this year, up from 8% and 22%, respectively, in 2019. While prior to the pandemic virtual visits were mostly for on-demand urgent care, that’s shifted to scheduled visits across all specialties.

Consumers now expect to use telehealth more often, and there’s also a growing demand for more virtual chronic and specialty care services.

Additionally, Amwell said for 59% of consumers who had a video visit during the pandemic, it was their first, and 91% of patients said they were “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with the visit. Consumers now expect to use telehealth more often, and there’s also a growing demand for more virtual chronic and specialty care services.

Virtual Dating

How did relationships fare during this year? As you might expect, there was much more virtual dating. In October, the dating app Match released findings from its 10th annual Singles in America study of more than 5,000 singles across the United States.

In a year when to wear a mask or not might be a dating deal breaker, singles overall expressed a desire for relationships over casual dating, and for more meaningful conversations and transparency during dates.

Match also noted that the pandemic has introduced increased video dating – a new pre-date video screening stage – which has added to the courtship process. It’s helping singles save time and money by getting to know each other – leading to “kissing fewer frogs,” Match said. Of those singles who went on a video date during quarantine, 68% used video dating to determine whether they wanted to meet someone in real life.

Moving Out

United Van Lines, the nation’s largest household goods mover, reported the results of 6,000 post-move surveys during the pandemic months. In October, United Van Lines said their surveys showed that while overall nationwide move requests were down during the lockdowns, moving interest in September 2020 was notably higher than the previous year – up 32% – indicating that this year’s peak moving season shifted from the Spring and early Summer.

Among leading factors influencing a move, the top four were concerns for personal and family health and wellbeing; a desire to be closer to family; changes in employment status or work arrangement (including the ability to work remotely); and desire for a lifestyle change or improvement of quality of life.

Additionally of note, was more people moved away from higher density U.S. cities. At the end of August 2020, outbound move requests from New York were 52% higher than the national average. In San Francisco, outbound move requests steadily increased from 3% above the national average in July 2020 to 128% by the beginning of September.

The top inbound states for those who moved – and where COVID was a contributing factor in choosing to migrate – were: Vermont, North Dakota, Connecticut, Montana, Michigan, Arkansas, Oregon, Massachusetts, Ohio and Utah.

More Paint

Dutch Boy Paints released a survey in October of do-it-yourselfers’ fall home improvement plans, with results showing 84% planned to paint in the next six months, and most preferring “Earthy and Calm” colors for their projects, beating out ‘White and Clean’ and ‘Grey and Trendy,’ which were a near-tie for second place.

Of nearly 1,100 surveyed from across the country, 84% plan to paint in the next six months. The top rooms they’re painting? Most said a bedroom or bathroom, followed by – in order – the kitchen, living room, and front door. It also noted that among those who plan to paint, 86% will tackle two or more spaces in their homes.

Fresh Food

Less commuting for many has meant more time to prepare fresh meals. But retailers have room for improvement when it comes to understanding fresh food shopping micro-trends, says leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory service provider Deloitte in its The Future of Fresh: Patterns from the Pandemic survey released in October.

Deloitte said fresh food is more valued than ever, but that more than half of consumers feel stress when shopping in stores due to the pandemic. And while price is has long been a primary driver in how much fresh food is bought, pandemic safety concerns have led to less frequent visits to stores. Safety now ranks alongside price as a top driver of whether to buy fresh.

The survey found that nearly two-thirds of consumers were unable to buy a fresh food item they wanted because it was out of stock during the pandemic. A positive trend: as shopping has moved online, more than two-thirds of consumers who drive innovation in fresh food buying now say they trust in-store shoppers to select the best quality fresh food items available – previously a barrier in that category.

Saving

Many have taken action to increase what they can save during the pandemic. New research from Northwestern Mutual’s 2020 Planning & Progress Study released in October reveals that personal saving is up about 10 percent over 2019 – excluding funds specifically earmarked for retirement like a 401(k) or IRA.

Nearly half of U.S. adults say they don’t have great clarity on exactly how much they can afford to spend now versus how much they should be saving for later.

In fact, since hitting record peaks in April, the personal saving rate – the portion of monthly income households are saving – has hovered around 20%. Before the pandemic, the savings rate was about 7.5%.

Among a list of financial concerns, rising health care costs are the top worry, and nearly a third of U.S. adults say financial anxiety causes them to feel depressed at least once a month, and one fifth say it impacts their job performance. Nearly half of U.S. adults say they don’t have great clarity on exactly how much they can afford to spend now versus how much they should be saving for later, and about 20% of people say they plan their finances week-to-week or day-to-day.

How to cope with financial stress? Northwestern Mutual says that understanding your finances is one of the big keys to gaining control and taking action. A starting point: review spending habits to get a clear sense of your finances and to better manage spending behaviors.


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